By the end of the course students will be able to: a) critically analyse literary texts in a intercultural perspective with the context of “cultural studies” and “translation studies”; b) deal with those different intercultural, literary, political and historical backgrounds that shaped modern and postmodern literary genres; c) critically reflect on the connection of the image with the wor(l)d in the European and Extra-European literary cultures of the 20th Century; d) examine the aesthetics through which writers have used an intercultural approach to explore issues related to such topics as migration, identity, memory, trauma, and witness.
This course is dedicated to "Writing in an intercultural perspective: text and image in the autofiction of the 20th Century" and examines the broadly modern and postmodern correlation of literature with photography, studied by Roland Barthes and perhaps identified best in the literary work of W. G. Sebald and P. Modiano. The course introduces a basic history and discourse of the “image” and explores how photography, a visual genre, was a key prompt for the advent of modernist and postmodernist literary genres, especially in relation to cultural memory, trauma, and witness. Through the analysis of "The Rings of Saturn" by W.G. Sebald and "Dora Bruder" by Modiano, the course will show how their shift towards 'autofiction', a genre of fictionalized autobiography often accompanied by photographs, was debated and even identified within the “cultural studies” and the “translation studies” as an intercultural literary genre able to thematize such topics as migration, identity, cultural memory, trauma, and witness.
- Nadine Rentel, Stephanie Schwerter, Ciara Hogan (eds.), Bridging Cultures. Intercultural Mediation in Literature, Linguistics and the Arts, Stuttgart, Idem, 2012, pages: 19-194 (175).
- R. Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, New York, Hill and Wang, 2010, pages: 144 (or any other edition)
- P. Modiano, Dora Bruder, trans. by J. Kilmartin, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2014 (pages: 128)
- W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn, London, Vintage Classics, 2013, pages: 320 (or any other edition)
The course will be held in English and it will be based on lectures, yet directly involving the students in discussion and dialogue. During classes, students’ proposals for further enquiries or debate will be welcome.
The assessment will be written, in English, and it will concern the contents of the literary works listed in the syllabus and of the critical texts. Three questions will be asked concerning: 1) the historical, literary and intercultural framing from the end of the 19th century to nowadays; 2) the intercultural literary genre of the 'autofiction' and the features of the connections of literature with photography in modernism and postmodernism; 3) the thematic and narrative features of one of the literary works in the syllabus, with special attention to the intercultural themes of memory, trauma, migration, and identity. The language skills level will influence the outcome of the examination.
Please remember that this course is taught in English. Erasmus students are kindly asked to contact the lecturer.